With 3D TV coming to the market, people seem to be falling over themselves to enjoy more immersive movies at home. Thing is, 3D is little more than a gimmick at the moment. Surround sound, now that's where it's at -- it's the original 3D. Nothing brings you into a move more than audio that fills your room and surrounds you, as it would in real life. With this in mind, Monitor Audio has put together a speaker package called the RX6AV12.
The pack is essentially a selection of speakers from Monitor Audio's RX range, matched to provide a brilliant all-round 5.1 experience. The pack Monitor Audio sent to us came in gloss black, which along with its gloss white brother is a little more expensive than the traditional matte-finish speakers. In total, expect to pay around £2,600 for this system, or £2,200 for a black, oak or rose and walnut cabinet finish. That's about the same as a new 3D TV.
If it sounds like too much money to spend on speakers in one go though, you might be pleased to know you can build your system up over time, just by buying the speakers separately, and stick to the cheaper, non-gloss, finish. For example, the front stereo pair of RX6 speakers will cost you about £750, as a pair. The RX Centre is £300 on its own, and the rear-effect RXFX speakers are about £400 for the pair. That's a total of £1,450, with the subwoofer costing a not insubstantial £750 on its own.
You could get by with just the stereo pair and centre channel to start with, then add a subwoofer later. You could also opt for a less powerful sub, such as Monitor Audio's own Radius R370 -- still a great little speaker, but much less expensive at around £500.
Although all of these prices seem steep, you may never need to replace them, unlike other components in your AV system. After all, if you look after a good set of speakers, they'll happily produce gorgeous noise for decades to come. The same certainly won't be true about your TV, Blu-ray player or other hardware.
Sure, with each year we see more channels being added, and ultra-high definition promises 22.2 sound, but as a basis for home cinema, 5.1, 7.1 or even 9.1 is probably going to suit you for some time to come.
You can either opt to have the beautiful cones exposed, or you can attach the grilles instead. There are no holes on the centre speaker, or the stereo pair -- the grille is magnetic instead. A good system, we think.
The centre speaker is also an unported, closed design. This, Monitor claims, is to enable it to perform well when in an enclosed space, or mounted on a wall.
Gold-plated speaker connections. The option to bi-wire is available on both the centre speaker and the stereo front pair.
Bi-wiring simply means removing the metal joining connection and connecting each set of terminals back to your amp.
The rear-effects speakers are designed to be mounted directly on your wall.
The bi-pole/di-pole switch allows you to customise the speakers' mode of operation. Di-pole is a more diffuse system, designed to produce a non-distinct sound. This is a more cinema-style experience, but requires quite precise location in your room.
The subwoofer is quite the beast. At £750 it's not cheap either. The front-mounted, forward-firing woofer means you'll get a very tight, clear sound.
Cheaper systems will encourage you to hide your subwoofer away. We don't think you should do this -- in an ideal world, the sub should be given the same prominence as your other speakers.